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Independence Day of Ukraine (Ukrainian: День незалежності України) is the main state holiday in modern Ukraine,[nb 1] celebrated on 24 August[5] in commemoration of the Declaration of Independence of 1991.[6]

Independence Day
День незалежності
Ukrainian Independence Day in Luhansk.jpg
2013 celebrations in Luhansk
Observed by Ukraine
SignificanceThe day the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Supreme Soviet in 1991
CelebrationsConcerts,[1] military parade[2] (in 2019 no military parade will take place[3])
Date24 August

Beginning in 2004, 23 August is celebrated as National Flag Day.[7]

Generally (but not every year) independence day is celebrated with a military parade held in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.[8][3]


When Ukraine was still a Soviet republic, the Ukrainian diaspora traditionally recognized 22 January (the Declaration of Independence of the Ukrainian People's Republic in 1918) as Ukrainian Independence day.[9]

The current form of the holiday was first celebrated on 16 July 1991, as the first anniversary of the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine passed by the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's parliament) in 1990.[6][10] Since the Declaration of Independence was issued on 24 August 1991, and confirmed by the referendum of 1 December 1991, the date of the holiday was changed.[11] (In December 1991 many Ukrainian Canadians expected that 1 December would become Ukraine's official independence day.)[12]

Recent celebrationsEdit

Ukrainian Independence Day celebrations in Toronto, Canada


After the annual military parade in Kyiv the "March of the Unconquered" was held by active members of Ukraine's volunteer battalions, relatives of those killed during the fighting in the War in Donbass and family members of those killed during the Euromaidan uprising – known in Ukraine as the "Heavenly Hundred".[13] According to the Ukrainian army the volume of artillery fire set off by the separatist forces of the war in Donbass during the 24-hour period of 24 August 2016 was the highest since the February 2015 Battle of Debaltseve.[14][15]

Several Ukrainian cities held marches of people dressed in vyshyvanky (shirts with traditional Ukrainian embroidery).[16]


A corps of drums from the National Police of Ukraine during the independence day ceremony in 2019.

On 10 July 2019, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Facebook that the 2019 Ukrainian Independence Day celebrations will not include a military parade (for the first time since the parade's cancellation from 2010-2014) stating the following: "We have decided to allocate 300 mln hryvnias [nearly $12 mln] as bonus payments to our servicemen, i.e. fixed-term soldiers, cadets, sergeants, officers.”[17] Zelensky also mentioned that the government would take steps to "honor heroes" on Independence Day by highlighting the fact that the "format will be new".[18] On 30 July, Zelensky's Head of the Presidential Administration Andriy Bohdan announced that a March of Dignity (Марш гідності) will take place in replacement of the annual parade.[19][20] A separate march, known as the March of Defenders (Марш захисників) was also planned to be held by Ukrainian war veterans.[21] The ceremony went on as planned and even incorporated elements of the annual parade such as the flag eaising ceremony and the awarding of veterans.[22][23] During his speech, Zelensky calles for unity, saying "Ukrainian-speaking and Russian-speaking, regardless of age, gender, religion - we must be one people".[24]


  1. ^ In July 2013 in a poll by Razumkov Centre 61% considered Independence Day a holiday, 30.4% “not a holiday, but an ordinary day off” and 6.1% agreed to “this should be a working day”.[4]


  1. ^ (in Russian) Kharkov Ukraine celebrates Independence Day (photos, program of measures), SQ (24 August 2016)
  2. ^ Kyiv hosts military parade, Interfax-Ukraine (24 August 2016)
  3. ^ a b "Ukrainian president signs decree on Independence Day celebrations". Ukrinform. 15 July 2019.
    "Bonuses instead of parade: Ukraine's leader takes surprising decision". Belsat TV. 10 July 2019.
  4. ^ Poll: Independence Day a holiday for more than 60% of Ukrainians, Interfax-Ukraine (21 August 2013)
  5. ^ How Ukraine Became a Market Economy and Democracy by Anders Åslund, Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2009, ISBN 978-0-88132-427-3 (page 185)
  6. ^ a b A History of Ukraine: The Land and Its Peoples by Paul Robert Magocsi, University of Toronto Press, 2010, ISBN 1442610212 (page 722/723)
  7. ^ Ukraine celebrates National Flag Day Archived 7 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Xinhua News Agency (23 August 2012)
    Ceremony of hoisting Ukraine's national flag held at presidential administration, Kyiv Post (23 August 2011)
  8. ^ Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives on Nationalism by Taras Kuzio, ibidem Press, 2007, ISBN 3898218155 (352)
    Language Policy and Discourse on Languages in Ukraine Under President Viktor Yanukovych by Michael Moser, ibidem Press, 2013, ISBN 3838204972 (page 102)
    Ukraine military parade marks 25 years of independence, BBC News (24 August 2016)
  9. ^ "Washington State Marks Independence for the First Time" (PDF). Svoboda. The Ukrainian Daily. LXXX (40). Jersey City: Ukrainian National Association. 3 March 1973. p. 4. ISSN 0274-6964. LCCN 80012518. OCLC 01766932.
  10. ^ Citizens of Ukraine mark 1 year of state sovereignty, The Ukrainian Weekly (21 July 1991)
  11. ^ Ukraine Intelligence & Security Activities and Operations Handbook, International Business Publications, 2009, ISBN 0739716611 (page 268)
  12. ^ Canada second to recognize Ukraine; establishing ties should go smoothly, The Ukrainian Weekly (8 December 1991)
  13. ^ (in Ukrainian) Разом з військовим парадом у Києві влаштували "Марш нескорених" (The "March of the Unconquered" was Held along with the Military Parade in Kiev), Ukrayinska Pravda (24 August 2016)
  14. ^ Heaviest fire since Debaltseve battle recorded yesterday, 3 WIA, UNIAN (25 August 2016)
  15. ^ Russian proxies intensify attacks on ATO forces on Independence Day, UNIAN (25 August 2016)
  16. ^ (in Ukrainian) Ukrainians at home and abroad celebrated Independence Day, Ukrayinska Pravda (24 August 2015)
  17. ^ "Ukrainian president signs decree on Independence Day celebrations". Ukrinform. 15 July 2019.
    "Bonuses instead of parade: Ukraine's leader takes surprising decision". Belsat TV. 10 July 2019.
  18. ^ "Zelensky cancels Independence Day parade on August 24 citing costs". TASS.
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^

External linksEdit